Thursday, March 24, 2011

Local Philadelphia Eagles great hospitalized


Local Philadelphia Eagles icon Chuck Bednarik who played on the 1960 NFL championship team is in serious condition Thursday morning at St. Luke's Hospital-Fountain Hill.

Bednarik was admitted Wednesday reportedly due to shortness of breath. A nursing supervisor on Thursday said his condition was serious.

"They're still running tests, they still don't know the cause," said Ken Safarowic, Bednarik's son-in-law, this afternoon. "But his heart is as strong as when he was playing and he is conscious and he just wants to get out of there.

"I'd like to say he's resting comfortably, but I don't know that Chuck can ever rest comfortably. That's just the way he is."
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Bednarik, who will turn 86 on May 1. lives in Upper Saucon Township just west of Coopersburg with his wife, Emma.

Bednarik played for the Eagles from 1949 to 1962 and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1967.

He grew up in Bethlehem and starred on the former Bethlehem (Liberty) High School football team, then flew 30 bombing missions over Europe during World War II before enrolling at Penn in 1945.

Known as "Concrete Charlie" and acclaimed as the "Greatest Eagle of All-Time," Bednarik played 14 years with the Eagles, leading them to the 1949 and 1960 NFL championships.

In 1948 the 6-3, 233-pounder became the first lineman to win the Maxwell Award and placed third in the Heisman Trophy voting before the Eagles grabbed him with their first pick in the 1949 draft. Although the NFL adopted the two-platoon system of offense and defense we know today soon after Bednarik joined the league, he played both center and linebacker throughout his career, almost never leaving the field -- after missing the first two games of his rookie season with injury, Bednarik missed just one other the rest of his career.

— Tracy Jordan,0,7212428.story

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